At a recent gathering a friend mentioned how much she was anticipating Christmas and another responded that as a child she could hardly sleep because of the anticipation. I remember feeling that way as a kid, but as a grownup it’s easy to become more anxious than excited about Christmas. I still lose sleep, but now it’s over my own Santa duties.
The holidays tend to amplify that old Martha/Mary conundrum. I’d like to immerse myself in the magic of the season, but frankly, someone’s got to hang the holly and bake the Buche de Noel. And though I like doing those things, there’s just a lot of Things To Do. So I’ve found that I’m at my most merry and bright when I approach my Martha tasks with a little Mary perspective.
For example, I’ve winnowed my Christmas card list to friends and family that I genuinely want to stay in touch with–even if it’s just this one time of year–and as I assemble our cards (this year’s, above, from Minted) I try to slow down and recall good times together.
When the crowds get too hustle-bustley, I envision all the shoppers thinking about how to make others happy. I also think of all the craftspeople hoping their work finds a receptive audience.
Tree-trimming is not for the faint of heart or feeble of backs, but the pairing of woodsy greens with sparkling lights seems like a manifestation of the divine and our house feels blessed when the tree is shining. So I consider putting up the tree a gift of love to my family, the friends we host and, most especially, to me.
With Christmas Day a week away, I’m jettisoning non-essential Martha projects (which helps me sleep better) and anticipating the mystical Mary moments that might manifest each day. Today, I’ll look for them as I wrap and bake and prep for my kids’ arrivals (starting tomorrow!) I’ll also think fondly of old friends as I track down missing addresses to send off the last few cards. You see, my inner Martha and Mary both like very much to keep in touch.